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Cat Scratch Disease

  • Overview

    Cat scratches and bites can cause cat scratch disease, a bacterial infection carried in cat saliva. The bacteria are passed from a cat to a human after the cat licks its paws then scratches human skin. Rubbing the eyes after petting a cat's fur can also spread cat scratch disease. Young kittens less than 1 year of age are more likely to scratch, increasing the likelihood of infection.

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    Boston Children's Hospital 
    300 Longwood Avenue
    Boston MA 02115

     617-355-7701
     fax: 617-730-0505



  • In-Depth

    What are the symptoms of cat scratch disease?

    The following are the most common symptoms of cat scratch disease. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

    • A cat bite or scratch that doesn't heal or worsens over time.
    • They can be painful or swollen glands, especially under the armpits.
    • Your child may have flu-like symptoms, including headache, lethargy, decreased appetite, fatigue, joint pain or a fever.
    • Your child may get a body rash.
  • Tests

  • Treatment may include:

    • blood tests
    • antibiotics (to treat the infection)
    • supportive care (to treat the symptoms that result from the infection)
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